Last week, Gayle King of CBS This Morning took to her Instagram to state that the upcoming interview of her with WNBA star Lisa Leslie discussing Kobe Bryant’s legacy was taken out of context.
A certain clip of the interview focused on King asking Leslie her thoughts on Bryant’s sexual assault case from the early 2000s. King stated that the clip did not give full breadth view to the entirety of the interview, and per King, the clip was salaciously selected for the interview’s debut, and ran without her knowledge and permission. She stated that she could understand why some viewers might be unhappy with the clip that was presented.
Shortly after the clip aired, social media went crazy with high profile celebrities like SnoopDogg and Bill Bellamy blasting King for even asking Leslie such questions concerning Kobe’s past assault allegations. While many came to King’s defense that she was just doing her job as a journalist, there were others who felt that Kobe’s legacy shouldn’t be smeared in the wake of his death, as court case events from his past had already been settled.
Gayle’s bestie, Oprah later revealed to media that Gayle has been taking the backlash very hard and had even received death threats. A few days later SnoopDogg went to his social media to say that his intent was not to hurt King, and that he is about non-violence. He stated that Vanessa Bryant and her three daughters remain in grieving and that such remarks about Kobe’s not so fond history simply doesn’t help his family’s already heart wrenching loss.
During this particular social media angst, there have been some folks becoming vocal on the criminal justice inequities of sexual assault cases of Blacks and Whites, namely the current, high profile celebrity assault cases of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. There have also been folks coming to King’s rescue that public criticism of King has been harsh and prolonged enough and asked would the criticism be this bad if King were a White woman who had conducted the interview. Hypotheticals don’t always help a situation.
While I understand Ms. King was just trying to do her job, I found it to be in poor judgement to ask such questions at the present time. There is a time and place for everything, and the passing of Kobe still weighs heavily on many. This position is in no way to reduce what a victim of sexual assault has experienced but re-introducing such wounds against the backdrop of a high-profile death, I think only exacerbates more salt to the proverbial wound for all parties involved. Irrespective of position, the fact remains that nine precious souls lost their lives on January 26, 2020 and our thoughts and prayers continue to go to their beloved families.